Sunday, July 17, 2022

REVIEW: 'Evil' - A New App Exposes the Deepest and Darkest Desires of the Accessors in 'The Demon of Algorithms'

Paramount+'s Evil - Episode 3.06 "The Demon of Algorithms"

A single mother enlists the team to look into the potentially demonic ways the viral app VidTap is terrorizing her family.

"The Demon of Algorithms" was written by Patricia Ione Lloyd and directed by Peter Sollet

Monseigneur Korecki is completely clueless when it comes to technology. When Ben informs him VidTap has replaced TikTok, it's as if a different language is being spoken. He has no awareness for how the world has evolved as a result of technology. In fact, the Catholic Church presents as always being plagued by the same issues. As such, it's hard to trust them as the authority of good. Temptation is everywhere and no one has the proper tools to address it. But it's actually empowering and terrifying to see the ways in which people outside that particular world use this influence. The church promised Kristen an investigation into Leland's behavior at her daughters' school. He is cleared of any wrongdoing. It's a matter that could be handled quietly mostly because it was only personal for Kristen. It wasn't something that demanded immediate action. In fact, it's treated as an afterthought Kristen didn't even really need to know about. The potential possession was more serious. Even then, it's clear the world is constantly trolling the church and its perception of evil. Of course, things are different with public exposure. From the safety of their bedroom, the Bouchard daughters dox Leland. That catches the attention of the church right away. The sheer appearance of an ongoing relationship with him is enough to terminate his position. Sure, the Monseigneur still wants to offer a glowing recommendation. That's not what Leland wants. He's simply infuriated that people have bested him. He presents himself as superior with technology. He was never able to deceive Kristen's daughters though. They always knew he was trying to get them to harm her in some way. It never worked. Kristen is always afraid her daughters are turning against her. Their love still radiates. That is always clear. Kristen never feels that confident. She spirals in her own way. It's overwhelming because she is offered nothing but visuals of horror and despair. Her job is tough. And now, she's sucked into the world of algorithms deciphering her true desires. Half a second may not be enough time to process a visual and determine whether it's interesting. But this app immediately offers the accessors what they want to hear. Over time, it corrodes their minds. It soon becomes a hellish landscape where their worst impulses are encouraged and nourished. The temptation has always been present to behave badly. The show doesn't need to blame it all on an algorithm to get that point across. It simply encourages an understanding of these impulses in a very direct way. It may not change their behavior whatsoever. It's simply jarring to see it directly in front of them. Sister Andrea sees the demonic infestation taking root in David. She fights back. She demands clarity and he shuts her out. He is too plagued with his own questions to offer any strength or guidance elsewhere when it's needed.

The possibility for violence is apparent in so many elements of the world. That visibility doesn't guarantee a person will indulge in that behavior. Nor does it inherently make the platform itself evil. That's how David would love to break down the innovations of the world. Do they offer a collective good or evil? That's how the conversation has been framed according to his religious beliefs. He has devoted himself to that path. That's what his ordination meant. As such, those stakes have to be even more severe now. He can't deny any of the ambiguity. He has to walk this path with complete clarity. That's what increases the importance of the struggle in his personal life. It's all so transparent. He doesn't seek out the help of others. That's his weakness amongst all of this. Meanwhile, Ben and Kristen give in to the notifications. Their phones still buzz with that attention. They are as susceptible as anyone else. Once those hooks are in, it's then necessary to perform in order to achieve more and more clout. It's a vicious cycle. One that has already been documented without the need to bring demonic possession into it. That's the way this show features all of its stories. It's a fascinating way to have this conversation as well. The accessors can debunk the ways in which people are performing. The camera lingers on the phones as they record. It's all about living online instead of being present in real life. That comes at the expense of families and loved ones. It all leads to self-harm. That's true with the teenage girl eating glass and speaking in tongues. It's also true with the single mother who has terrorized her sons. People reach out for help in these cases. They still have to accept the answers the accessors provide. That may be even more difficult. That clarity can provide so much relief. The mystery can be just as tantalizing. Some people may not want to acknowledge the truth despite how horrifying the fear has been. It quickly becomes normalized. That means the actions have to intensify. A woman harms her children. VidTap has the unedited footage to prove it. Ben receives it from one of his new science friends. That is more than likely illegal. It offers the truth to the accessors. They know exactly how to approach the situation. It's easy when their cases end like that. They are still plagued by so much evil though. Leland is determined to kill Kristen. That's what he now aspires to achieve. Sheryl claims she won't let that happen. She wields her own unique power. Leland isn't some master manipulator who can't ever be foiled. He lashes out when people expose his malicious actions. That too threatens to only escalate the situation further. He inflames the danger simply because he feels entitled to the chaos and the domination over others. That's a scary prospect even though Kristen is still in the dark about the doctored video claiming to show Andy guiding Edward through the mountains.